INDEPENDENT presidential candidate Simba Makoni and the MDC formation led by Arthur Mutambara yesterday reportedly forged an alliance that will see the former finance minister filing his nomination papers today with the backing of the faction.
The alliance was agreed amid reports that Zanu PF politburo member Dumiso Dabengwa had given up his presidential ambitions to back Makoni.
Dabengwa was until earlier this week reportedly seeking nominations from the country’s 10 provinces to challenge President Robert Mugabe, Makoni and MDC’s Morgan Tsvangirai in the March 29 harmonised polls.
The sources said Makoni and Mutambara representatives met yesterday and agreed that the expelled Zanu PF politburo member will stand as their presidential candidate and that the MDC would field House of Assembly, senate and council election candidates.
“The deal is that Makoni will be the presidential candidate, while the Mutambara faction will field candidates for other elections,” one of the sources said. “During the two sides’ election campaigns, Mutambara will urge voters to elect Makoni and the group will appeal to the electorate to back the MDC candidates.”
The sources said the Makoni group met the Mutambara faction on Wednesday to deliberate on the alliance where a common position was reportedly agreed.
Yesterday, the two groups met again in the capital and Makoni’s side reportedly asked the Mutambara faction to issue out a statement that they were backing the former Sadc executive secretary.
“At the meeting (yesterday) there was a conflict on the emblem to be used in the elections. There was a strong feeling that the Mutambara faction’s symbol was almost similar to that of the Tsvangirai camp and that this could work against the alliance in the elections,” another source said.
However, the source said the two groups would use different symbols despite their alliance.
Launching his manifesto in the capital on Wednesday, Makoni said he was aware of only three presidential candidates.
“I am aware of three presidential candidates, President Mugabe, Mr Tsvangirai and Simba Makoni,” the ex-Finance minister said. “I am not challenging President Mugabe, but I am offering myself to be the president instead of President Mugabe.”
Efforts to get a comment from MDC spokesperson Gabriel Chaibva failed yesterday as he was not reachable on his mobile phone.
However, the party at the weekend said it was prepared to work with “progressive opposition groups” to oust Mugabe from power.
The other faction of the MDC led by Tsvangirai has refused to form a coalition with Makoni saying he was “old wine in a new bottle”.
Nelson Chamisa, the faction’s spokesperson, said: “The problem with Makoni is that we do not know what he stands for. Zanu PF cannot swallow the MDC. It doesn’t make sense to be part of a Zanu PF faction. What happens to the MDC if Makoni wakes up tomorrow and says he is going back to Zanu PF?”
Meanwhile, Makoni on Wednesday did not reveal the bigwigs in Zanu PF supporting his presidential bid, amid reports that they would not come out in the open, but campaign for him behind the scenes.
The sources said the heavyweights would not campaign for Mugabe, but for Makoni as they felt there was need for leadership renewal in the country.
“Mugabe is aware that within the party, especially in the politburo, there are members who will de-campaign him and that is why he appealed to the people during the congress in December not to sacrifice the party,” a senior Zanu PF official said.